Goss Gets The Last Laugh.

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You may recall South Florida Water Management District Chairman Chauncey Goss being ridiculed by members of the state legislature for not having specific changes to SB 2508, a bill he had just received, and that the legislature was trying to ram through. Standing next to Governor Ron DeSantis on Fort Myers Beach Wednesday, Goss got the last laugh.

DeSantis announced to thunderous applause that he had vetoed the bill. His veto read that, “while the bill ultimately passed by the Legislature was an improvement over what was initially filed, SB 2508 still creates unnecessary and redundant regulatory hurdles that may compromise the timely execution and implementation of Everglades restoration projects, water control plans and regulation schedules.”

Your representative Adam Botana – who never misses a chance to stand behind the Governor for a photo opp. – was conspicuously absent from the Governor’s press conference. Botana voted in favor of the Bill.

Since its introduction back in February there were several campaigns launched to kill the bill. It was opposed by Captains for Clean Water, The Everglades Foundation, Friends of The Everglades, Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith and others. They were concerned the bill would lead to more toxic algae blooms and undo years of work that was done on the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual.

Eve Samples, Executive Director of Friends of the Everglades said the bill would essentially enshrine into state law the water supply protection that currently exists for the Everglades Agricultural Area, stockpiling water in the lake for sugarcane irrigation.”

After the veto, Samples told Beach Talk Radio News, The people of Florida saw SB 2508 for what it was — a grab bag of bad environmental policies filed to benefit special interests including Big Sugar. This veto is a clear signal that anti-environment legislation defies the will of Florida voters.”

Captains for Clean Water said the bill affected two critical components to solving south Florida’s water crisis. “It undermined the new lake operations schedule (LOSOM) which is slated to reduce harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges by 37% annually and send three times more water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay. It also prioritized additional projects which could have diluted funding for the EAA Reservoir, the cornerstone project of Everglades restoration.”

Goss said the Water Management District was never consulted on the bill at the time.

And Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith’s concern was that SB2508 could undo the 3 years of collaborative work that was done with the Army Corps of Engineers creating a potential loophole around the selected alternative of LOSOM or have other unintended consequences. Following the veto of 2508 Smith said it was an epic day for water.

Following the announced veto by the Governor, Captains for Clean Water Executive Director Dan Andrews thanked DeSantis for standing firm in his commitment to protect Florida’s waterways by vetoing 2508. “The bad water policy would have reversed years of Everglades restoration and water quality progress, the elimination of Lake Okeechobee discharges, and equitable distribution of water use, all in favor of Big Sugar. Our organization and others worked hard to weaken 2508 and this veto is the final nail in the coffin.”
On Wednesday, Kim interviewed both Chauncey Goss and Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith after covering the press conference with Governor DeSantis, which was held at Doc Fords. Check out that interview HERE and below

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